Quebec gets new political party
Ex-PQ minister Legault launches Coalition Avenir Québec
Former Parti Québécois cabinet minister François Legault officially launched his centre-right political party Monday in Quebec City.
At a news conference, Legault dubbed his new party Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), and focused on the need for change.
Legault is promising Quebecers to work towards less bureaucracy, more personal wealth, and avoiding constitutional wars with the rest of Canada.
"Let's act together for change," Legault told reporters, saying he will call on people on both sides of the constitutional debate to join his party.
The former PQ minister says Quebecers are not interested in a referendum right now, and so sovereignty would be on the backburner if he were to form the next government.
Legault told reporters Monday his party would implement significant cuts in the public sector, including eliminating jobs at public utility Hydro-Quebec and abolishing school boards.
Legault said he's dedicated to rooting out corruption, and announced he would appoint a commissioner to oversee the public contract bidding process if elected.
He also promised to revamp the role of Quebec's public pension manager, La Caisse de dépôt et placement.
Legault introduced a new logo for the party, saying it was a symbol that Quebecers of all stripes will work together to create a new, powerful province.
The logo includes Liberal red and Parti Québécois blue.
Changing political scene
The Coalition Avenir Québec could dramatically shift the province's political landscape.
The anticipation surrounding Legault's new venture has been building for months, and polls taken before the party was formed have already shown the coalition was so popular, it could beat out Jean Charest's Liberals in the next election.
Numerous polls have also suggested Legault is more popular than the opposition Parti Québécois.
Legault, the co-founder and former CEO of Air Transat, was first elected to the national assembly as a member of the sovereigntist PQ in 1998. He held several key dossiers, including a stint as the party's education minister and finance critic.
The politician has said in the past that his politics are slightly right-wing when it comes to economics and slightly left-wing when it comes to social values.
In a sign that Legault's arrival on Quebec's political scene is a worry, the Liberals, PQ and Québec Solidaire spent the weekend attacking the new party. Premier Jean Charest has been stepping up his attacks on Legault for weeks, often referring to him as a separatist-in-waiting.
Vincent Marissal, political columnist at La Presse, said Legault has catered to all voters by staying mum on many issues.
"We don't know the candidates he will run, we don't know everything about his platform," Marissal said.
With files from the Canadian Press